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Capitol Hill Update: March 19, 2018

03/19/2018

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House returns today at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 11 bills on the suspension calendar for Monday.

We were told to expect the omnibus spending bill to be posted online last week Wednesday and that it would be on the floor on Friday. Obviously, it didn't happen. Votes on Friday were canceled. We're now hearing that the omnibus will be posted early this evening after a House Republican Conference meeting, which means that it will likely be on the floor Wednesday because of the three-day rule. The current continuing resolution expires on Friday, March 23. Passage last week would have given the Senate some wiggle room to make changes should the House include something that is a nonstarter. There won't be much time if there are any disagreements with certain riders.

Everyone is trying to get something put in the bill, but the most likely additions remain the internet sales tax (Remote Transactions Parity Act) and the ObamaCare cost-sharing reduction payments. Other items that we've heard could be included are the Fix NICS Act, lowering the quorum requirement for the Export-Import Bank to make it easier to approve loans, and increasing the dollar amount that outside groups connected to political parties can spend. Overall, this omnibus spending bill may be the worst bill to be passed by Congress since ObamaCare.

Last week, House Republican leaders attempted to move the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act, H.R. 5247, placing it on the suspension calendar, which requires a two-thirds vote for approval. As Matthew Bellina and Jordan McLinn and their families looked on, the bill failed in a truly sad display of partisanship. The bill is listed on the calendar for this week as a possible item under a closed rule. It would easily pass if a simple majority is required, but it would still have to go to the Senate, where there are no guarantees that it would get a vote.

The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.

Senate:

The Senate will convene at 3:00 pm and begin to consider the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, H.R. 1865. The bill, despite its serious flaws, has broad support and will likely move through without much opposition. The omnibus will come up later in the week.

The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.